The mystery of the Biltz house

The Biltz family group among my ancestors has until recently always been full of question marks in my mind. A lot of these question marks have recently been removed thanks to my recent dealings with a genealogist who lives in the area the Biltzes came from. The reason I’ve started a separate Biltz section on this web site is to share what I’ve been finding out about the Biltzes.

I remember the first time I even heard the name. My wife and I were visiting my great aunt Laura, the widow of my great uncle Ed (i.e. my Wyneken grandfather’s brother). She pulled out a number of family related items and one of them referred to a person whose last name was “Biltz”. I at first thought that must be a misspelling for the German word “Blitz” meaning “thunder”. But after a while I realized that that actually was the name: Biltz.

Through the years I learned more and more about the family. The first highlight was Franz Julius Biltz, the one who emigrated to the US. He didn’t just emigrate, though …

The emigration

Louise Völker, Franz’ half sister, joined the group of emigrants to Missouri that would later wind up forming the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) in St. Louis. She had promised her mother to take care of her younger brother, Franz, who was 13, and she was so convinced of the importance of this emigration that she took him with her.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t his legal guardian.

Not only that, she neglected to tell his legal guardian what was going on!

Franz’ legal guardian was his older brother, Christian Friedrich Wilhelm. Actually, Christian was also a half sibling. Christian and Franz had the same father but different mothers, whereas Franz and Louise had the same mother but different fathers. This is just one example of the complicated family relationships in the Biltz family.

Click on the chart to zoom!

The chart to the left graphically depicts the relationships between the various persons of this story.

(The family which Franz would, as a father, later help found was also marked by several “non-standard” relationships. There were daughters who had the first same name. There were children who were adopted and others who were foster children. It has taken me and other researchers lots of patience to figure out exactly who was who and how they fit in. I think in the end and with a lot of help from these other researchers, including other Biltz descendants and the helpful folks from LCMS archives, we finally got it all untangled.)

Newspaper ad from 28 October 1838 requesting help in finding the missing 12 1/2 year old boy Franz Julius Biltz

So, when Christian suddenly discovered that his younger brother and ward was missing, he took out an ad in the local Chemnitz newspaper calling for help in finding the run-away. In the meantime, Louise and Franz had traveled up to Bremen and joined the rest of the group. This whole trans-Atlantic odyssey by a group of Lutheran dissidents came to be known as the Saxon immigration because a large part of the group came from the German state of Saxony – cf. wikipedia article.

Franz and Louise settled down in Missouri and started new lives in the new world.

The house

Another part of the Biltz saga that up to now has been a big question mark in my mind has to do with reports that Franz at one point later in his life would have inherited a house and a factory if he had remained in Germany. According to the story, in the end he did get some payment for this inheritance.

When I visited my great aunt Laura I received from her another item that I’ve always thought might have something to do with this inheritance story but had never been able to confirm this. It was a photocopy from a book showing a photograph taken in 1889 of a house in Mittelfrohna, the town Franz was from. The implication was that this might be the house that Franz would have inherited.

I sent this photocopy to Frau Jülich, my genealogist contact in the Mittelfrohna area, asking if she could help me find out more about this house. She was very helpful and provided me with some extremely useful information.

Note the same basic shape of the buildings in the two pictures, the water pump in the same location and the fence along the angle of the road.

First of all, she found a book about the area that contained a drawing of a very similar house — with the name C.W. Biltz on the wall!

Secondly, she suggested that I send my question to the state archives in Chemnitz to see if they could locate the property records pertaining to the house in the first picture I had since the text under the photograph includes official details. Two days later the archive replied and sent me scans of the appropriate pages of the record books. And lo and behold, there were names that I knew all too well:

  • On the page entitled “Besitzer” (“owners”) there is an entry in which Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Biltz bought the house from Louise Völker on 25 September 1838. These are Franz Julius’ half brother and half sister
  • And on the opposite page entitled “Schulden” (“debts”) in an entry from 19 January 1847 is the name Franz Julius Biltz. At the time he was a “Cand. theol.”, in other words studying theology at the seminary.

I don’t understand all the details of the entry on the debts page, but it looks to me like there was some sort of agreement (“Konsens”) made in 1844 and in 1847 Franz is finally being paid 300 thalers (the word that “dollars” came from). Christian didn’t die until 1848 so it would seem that these dealings are not related to the property after Christian’s death but to Julius’ inheritance from his father and/or mother. I will continue doing research on the details of this entry and possibly report the results later.

As you can imagine, I was thrilled when I saw these names and realized I had found exactly what I was looking for. But then after I recovered from my initial jubilation I took a closer look at the dates and also noticed something else:

  • Louise Völker sold the house to Christian Biltz on 25 September 1838
  • Louise’ and Franz’ ship left Bremen for the US in mid October 1838
  • Christian placed a search ad in the newspaper for his ward on 28 October 1838

I was taken aback by the timeline. This seems to reflect a highly dramatic background story. Louise’ mother had probably inherited the house when Franz’ father died, and Louise inherited it from her mother when the mother died in 1837. Louise needed money to take with her on her trip to the US so she sold the house to Christian Biltz. Christian probably knew that Louise was going to emigrate, but she didn’t tell him that she was going to take Christian’s ward, Franz, with her. When Christian finds out he places the search ad but it was too late because the ship had already sailed.

That sounds like a good plot for a soap opera, doesn’t it?


Christian died on 17 November 1848. In entry 2 of the “Besitzer” page we see that his widow Anne Theresie nee Engelmann paid 106 thalers for her deceased husband’s property. I’m not exactly sure why she had to do this, but now she owns the whole property. The remaining entries on these pages record how the house remained the property of the Biltz family for a while more, but details will have to wait for another blog post.

New header on this website

I plan on writing about recent findings I’ve had concerning my Biltz ancestors. There is a new header “Biltzes” (look above on this page) that will contain only these postings.


Concerning Heinrich Christoph Wyneken’s last will

One of the places my family and I visited in a trip to northern Germany in 2001 was Verden because that’s where my great-great-great grandfather was born. His father, Heinrich Christoph Wyneken, was the pastor of the St. Andreas church there. St. Andreas is a small church located close to the cathedral. It is pictured on the left in the photograph above, the cathedral on the right.

St. Andres as photographed by me in 2001.

I am in touch with descendants of three of Heinrich Christoph’s children: Carl (founder of the America “Carl/Karl” branch), Gustav (no more “Wynekens”, but I’m in touch with the families), and of course FCD.

At some point Erika Wichmann, the German born wife of an FCD Wyneken descendant, sent me a copy of an article from the St. Andreas parish newsletter concerning Heinrich Christoph’s last will and testament. Last week Erika was kind enough to send me an English translation which I thought would be interesting to share here.

While my family and I were visiting Verden I was able to talk briefly to the pastor couple of the congregation at the time. They pointed out an old house across the street from the church as being the historical parsonage. This was presumably the house mentioned in the text below where the bailiff talked to the dying Heinrich Christoph.

Translated from the history of the St. Andreas Parish (38)

Heinrich Christoph Wyneken became pastor of the St. Andreas Parish in 1806. His grandfather had been a bailiff at Bremervörde; his father Moritz (*1722) wanted to become a preacher. He received his first position at Kappel in 1755, and moved on to Spieka in 1762 in the Wursten district. He died there as early as 1772. His son, Heinrich Christoph, born at Spieka in 1766, also became a preacher and was given the pastorate at Bexhövede, Cuxhaven district, in 1791 and held it for the next 15 years. In 1806, he was transferred to Verden to the St. Andreas Parish. He was granted only nine years in Verden, since he died rather early at the age of 49, the same as his father. He passed away in the fall of 1815.

His will was preserved in a bundle of files in the Verden district archives. It had led to all kinds of complications which are still of interest today. The will begins with this: Actum in the dwellings of Pastoris Wyneken on the 10th day of October 1815 (4 1/2 hrs in the afternoon). Present myself, Struktuarius Bailiff Mejer and the Struktur Voigt Bohde.

We then read on: After the pastor Heinrich Christoph Wyneken of our St. Andreas Church, who had been very ill for a long time with dropsy, had requested me to come and see him since he wished to place his last dispositions on record, I immediately went to his place together with the Struktur-Voigt Bohde. Pastor Wyneken was lying in his bed on the second floor in the parlor located immediately to the right of the staircase towards the front of the building. Wyneken declared: His own fortune had been used up in his marriage and might consist only of the purchased backyard behind the wall of the Parish backyard. Given this small remainder of his fortune, he does not deem it necessary to bequeath anything further; since this small fortune is to be left to his eleven children.

The actual content of his will follows after this provision: It is his express will, however, that his faithful and righteous wife Anna Catharina Louise, née Meyer, should be the only and sole guardian of his and her eleven children after his transition into eternity, and that no other guardian should be placed at her side against her own free will and choice, because he was absolutely convinced of her faithfulness and love for their children, and since she was furthermore a most righteous and good Christian, his children would be perfectly well protected under her discipline and guidance.

This provision was not as unusual as it may seem to us; indeed, after Wyneken’s passing, the Stade Consistory on November 9 approached the bailiff at Verden, requesting him to question the widow whether she was prepared to assume the guardianship of her children. This questioning took place at the same time as the opening of the will, i.e. on November 23, 1815. The minutes list the eleven children, i.e.:

  1. Heinrich Christian 22 years,
  2. Johann Heinrich Friedrich Conrad 19 years,
  3. Marie Elisabeth Henriette Sophie 18 years,
  4. Caroline Marie 17 years,
  5. Charlotte Friedrike 16 years,
  6. Johann Ernst Moritz 14 years,
  7. Carl Friedrich 12 years,
  8. Gustav Burchard 10 years,
  9. Henriette Louise Dorothee 7 years,
  10. Friedrich Conrad Diederich 5 years,
  11. Louise Amalie 3 year,

and continue: in accordance with the order given to me by the Royal Consistorio of Stade, the widow of Pastor Wyneken… was legally bound by the required guardian’s oath of a mother servatis servandis as guardian of her abovementioned 11 children.

When the report of this administration of the oath arrived at Stade, the Bailiff was reprimanded that he had not required the widow to renounce her female legal benefits as pertaining to the secundis nuptiis! Plainly speaking: The widow should commit herself not to remarry! That was the point where the bailiff lost his patience: I have never heard of such a thing that a mother who wishes to or should become guardian of her children has to renounce the secundis nuptiis, i.e., has to confirm that she does not intend to remarry.

Only if she should indeed remarry, other guardians would have to be appointed. In the Brem and Verden regions, certain things are different from other provinces of this land in terms of criminal and civil justice, the bailiff adds; his colleague, bailiff Ostermeyer, also proceeds in this manner. Mejer ends: I do expect… respectfully, that you will not unnecessarily require me to administer the oath in a second time, since this would, of course, always be difficult for me. Thus, bailiff Mejer on December 27, 1815. An answer from Stade has not been preserved.

Dr. W. Jarecki

Translated from the German original by Marion Schiffer, Germany

A breakthrough can make you feel so very elated!

After twenty years of wondering how all the scraps of information I have about my Biltz ancestors fit together, I’ve finally hit pay dirt!

My Franz Julius Biltz (1825-1908) was my great great great grandfather. He was born in Mittelfrohna in Saxony, Germany and emigrated to Missouri in 1839 with his older half-sister Louise Völker, who had joined the “Saxon Emigration” that formed the beginnings of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Franz became a pastor, and died in 1908 in Concordia, Missouri.

He led a very exciting and sometimes dangerous life. He had severed ties with his German family when he sneaked out of Germany at the age of 12. Years later he sought to reestablish ties to his German kin and this correspondence is still in existence. The letters name names and places but unfortunately do not go into great detail about how the various names mentioned are actually related. After all, both the writer of the letters and their recipients knew who everybody was.

Over the last few months I have been trying to make sense of all the tantalizing bits of information I have gathered. A few weeks ago I decided to try to get in touch with the archives for the region around Mittelfrohna. After many agonizing weeks of silence I finally got a response from the archivist. He put me in touch with a genealogist who lives very close to Mittelfrohna and who happens to be familiar with the family.

This genealogist wrote me by e-mail last weekend and you can imagine how thrilled I was when she confirmed some of the relationships I had deduced. But the greatest thrill was to see the name of Franz Julius’ father and mother, correctly identified as the father’s second wife. These were definitely the people I was looking for.

The genealogist provided me with a good amount of new information that I can already add to my database, including the name of Franz Julius’ grandfather and names of uncles and aunts that I had previously not known about. She offered to go look at the church books and other records for me for a small fee. You can bet that I’m going to take her up on this offer!

I still have to process the information she’s already sent me, and I will have to do the same with the results of the research she will be doing for me. I will be sharing the information I find out as soon as it’s all in. Aside from the members of the Martin L. Wyneken family like me – the little girl Franz Julius is holding in the photograph above grew up to be Mrs. Martin L. Wyneken I – there are a number of other Biltz descendants that I have been in touch with throughout the years. I will definitely get in touch with them with the new information.

Another little “family reunion” in Freiburg

Fifteen years ago when my family was vacationing in a town on Lake Constance I drove our three children one evening half an hour or so farther eastward along the lake to visit a distant relative who lived there. We had a pleasant evening and a nice meal there and did a lot of chatting about how we were related to each other and so on. She was then, and continues to be today, interested in the family history, an interest she inherited from her father, Hans-Rolf. Years before I had corresponded with Hans-Rolf and even once talked to him on the phone. I am still very grateful to him for the information he provided me about his immediate family and his direct ancestors.

When a while back I started meeting semi-regularly with Wyneken relatives who live nearby, I immediately got in touch with Constanze to ask if she would be interested in joining us sometime. The interest was definitely there but she told me that circumstances would not allow her to make the trip for a while.

Well, the circumstances have changed and she got in touch with me recently to tell me that her mother, Waltraut, would be visiting her and that they would be interested in paying a visit to Freiburg to see the town and get together with me. The day they came was very hot but that didn’t keep us from enjoying each other’s company and chatting about numerous topics, including of course family, relatives and family history.

When I had to leave to get back to work, Constanze said she would be glad to come back to Freiburg again sometime for one of the regional Wyneken relative lunches.

Family trees in scroll form

I was very lucky that my daughter, Niki, had been visiting us for the past few months. That means she was here when the two huge trees arrived in the mail. … Boy, was I lucky!

When the trees arrived I took one look at them and said those are not very practical the way they are. When completely unrolled, they sprawl over the floor from the front to the back of the apartment. Not very easy to work with.

Knowing that Niki, as opposed to me, is practically inclined I asked her whether she would be interested in trying to set up the trees in scroll form. She gave me a noncommittal “uh-huh”, so I took heart and went online to look for a description of how to do what I was thinking of. I found several and they really didn’t look very complicated. At least for someone like Niki. I showed them to her and she started to show a little more interest. We went downtown together to look for the right materials to use for the project. We finally decided just to buy wooden curtain rods. I searched the Internet for heavy paper to attach the trees to the rods and for appropriate glue, all non-acidic so as help preserve the paper of the tree as long as possible.

Then one day Niki just sat down at the dinner table, pulled out all the materials, measuring implements and other tools, and got down to work. It was marvelous for me to watch her creative concentration. I left her alone and she called me back when she was done. I was so pleased!

A week or so later she did the second tree. Not only that, but she also created a bag to store the two scrolls when they’re not being used. You can see her at the top of this page holding everything in her arms.

Unfortunately she is no longer visiting us here in Germany because she had to fly back to the US. However, if anyone who has ordered a set of trees thinks that their trees might profit from being rolled up in scrolls like this, they might consider getting in touch with Niki to see if she would be interested in doing it for them. I asked her if she would consider it and she said sure she might, if you are willing to pay her flight to come out and visit you and give her food and board while she’s there. … So if you are really interested, just ask! Who knows, she might actually be willing to do it.

Wyneken family tree project coming to an end

I am overwhelmed by the response I have gotten to my offer of printing out the three updated Wyneken family trees!

All in all I have received orders to be delivered to 35 different addresses. Most of the orders are for complete sets of all three trees. Everybody ordered the overview as I had suggested. Five people decided to order, in addition to the overview, only the tree for their own branch. Five people even ordered two or three sets. All in all 125 trees will be printed.

A number of orders have already been processed, printed and delivered. I hope all the rest of the trees will have reached their final destinations either next week, or the week after at the latest.
The trees are very large, as can be seen in the following pictures.



The huge Bederkesa tree

Rüstje and overview

Me holding the early Wynekens tree. The Rüstje tree is lying on the floor

Invitation to lunch in Spain in October 2019 (picture *not* from La Montoliva)

Here is a message from Wyneken descendant Eduard Cabré in Spain.

Good Morning family,

This is to inform you about the next great meeting of our Punyed family. Let’s meet for lunch on the 6th of October 2019 in La Montoliva restaurant, next to La Selva del Camp in Tarragona, Spain.

The whole family is invited, Wyneken family included. Please confirm your attendance by e-mail to me.  I think this is a great opportunity to meet together. Hope to see you all very soon!

Eduard Cabré.

Eduard’s grandmother is Maria Antonia Punyed Wyneken, the oldest child on this page of my on-line tree, and her mother’s maiden name was Wyneken. That’s the Wyneken connection to this invitation.

The restaurant’s web site is very inviting and it gets four out of five stars at Tripadvisor – but you do need to know Spanish for most of the ratings.

I think this is a great idea and I would like to call out a big thanks to Eduard, who visited me in Freiburg in 2014. I think it would be really great if some of us non-Spanish Wynekens were able to make it.


Ordering for the family trees ends tomorrow

I’m thrilled to report that I’ve been getting lots of orders for the trees!

Twenty six relatives from all over the world have ordered a total of 96 charts. This is roughly equivalent to 32 complete sets of all three trees. I say “roughly” because a few of the people who ordered have only ordered the two trees that pertain to themselves.

I will be accepting more orders through the end of tomorrow, February 15, so if you would like your own copies of the trees please get to me soon.

I will try to send everyone an overview of what they ordered on the weekend along with the final price. I will ask for confirmation and include information on how to pay. Then when I have received all the payments I will place the order at the printing company.

Thank you everyone who has ordered!

Pedigrí actualizado – Precios y Pedido

El último árbol genealógico completo de la familia Wyneken fue compilado alrededor de 1877 / 1878. Desde entonces y dado el tiempo transcurrido, han cambiado muchas cosas en las diferentes ramas de la familia en Alemania, Estados Unidos, España, Chile, Inglaterra y Rusia. Por ello, he creado una versión actualizada e impresa (en inglés) que me gustaría distribuir entre miembros de la familia que estén interesados contra un pequeño aporte monetario.

Debido a que los datos de la familia y su historia ha aumentado tanto, he tenido que dividir el árbol en tres imágenes separadas:

  • Principios y visión general – ca. 80 x 30 cm
  • Rama de Bederkesa (Alemania, Rusia, EE.UU.) – aprox. 80 x 610 cm
  • Rama de Rüstje (EE.UU., Inglaterra, Alemania, España, Chile) – aprox. 100 x 278 cm

Los avances están disponibles en

!!! Pero por favor visite para una advertencia en mi blog acerca de no poder incluir a todos los descendientes.

Estas representaciones del árbol se pueden pedir en tres calidades de papel fotográfico:

  • Normal (equivalente a una impresión de buena calidad)
  • Pesado estándar (recomendado por defecto, tipo cartulina delgada)
  • Calidad óptima o superpesado (con grosor tipo cartulina gruesa)

La calidad de los papeles y de la tinta empleados son tales que intentan asegurar la preservación de las representaciones durante muchos años y décadas.

Los precios para el conjunto de los árboles en las 3 calidades son los siguientes:

Normal: 111.75 USD / aprox. 97.63 EUR
Pesado estándar: 150.86 USD / aprox. 131.80 EUR
Superpesado: 195.56 USD / aprox. 170.86 EUR

También habrá que añadir el coste de los gastos de envío.

Finalmente propongo que para “retribuir” este trabajo, todos los interesados compartan el pago de un set de imágenes impreso en calidad superpesada, que pueda adjuntar a todos los antecedentes propios impresos que he levantado a lo largo de los años. Por ello, el costo se distribuiría uniformemente entre todos los “usuarios”, por lo que a mayor número de involucrados el costo per cápita será menor para este set adicional.

Este conjunto de árboles genealógicos refleja la historia de tu familia, tu ubicación en ellos y tus grados de parentesco con los miembros de la familia Wyneken a lo largo de los siglos.

Por favor, hágamelo saber por correo electrónico – – antes del 15 de febrero si desea ordenar un juego de estos árboles.

Antes de enviar el pedido a la imprenta le enviaré el precio exacto y le haré saber cómo transferirme el dinero.

Por favor, también pase esta información a todos sus parientes Wyneken que pudieran estar interesados. Me gustaría que estos árboles genealógicos se distribuyeran lo más ampliamente posible en toda la familia para que, si alguien decide hacer la próxima versión del árbol en 140 años más, pueda encontrar fácilmente una copia de lo que estoy produciendo ahora.

Aktualisierter Stammbaum – Preise und Bestellung

Der letzte vollständige Stammbaum der Familie Wyneken wurde um ca. 1877 / 1878 erstellt. Seitdem hat sich bei den verschiedenen Zweigen der Familie in Deutschland, den USA, Spanien, Chile, England und Russland sehr viel getan. Ich habe jetzt eine aktualisierte Version des Stammbaums erstellt (auf Englisch). Bis Dato liegen mir 8 Bestellungen dafür vor, und ich suche nach weiteren Familienmitgliedern, die am Erwerb einer eigenen Kopie interessiert sind.

Da die Familie durch die Generationen sehr zahlreich geworden ist, musste ich sie in 3 getrennten Stammbäume aufteilen:

  • Anfänge und Übersicht – ca. 80 x 30 cm
  • Bederkesa-Zweig (Deutschland, Russland, USA) – ca. 80 x 610 cm
  • Rüstje-Zweig (USA, England, Deutschland, Spanien, Chile) – ca. 100 x 278 cm

Kleine Versionen der Bäume findest du in einem früheren Beitrag dieses Blogs.

!!! Der Stammbaum zeigt nicht alle Nachkommen an. Insbesondere musste ich aus Platzgründen leider nach den Kindern weiblicher Namensträger einen Strich machen. Ich habe das hier im Blog — auf Englisch — erklärt. Wer Fragen dazu hat, kann mich gerne kontaktieren.

Die Stammbäume können auf gestrichenem Papier in 3 Stärken bestellt werden:

  • einfaches Papier (vergleichbar mit Kopierpapier guter Qualität)
  • schweres Papier (wird empfohlen)
  • extraschweres Papier (fast wie Fotokarton)

Die Qualität des Papiers und der Tinte sollte dafür sorgen, dass die Stammbäume viele Jahre und Jahrzehnte in guter Kondition erhalten bleiben.

Wenn ich 10 oder mehr Bestellungen erhalte, kostet ein Satz mit allen drei Stammbäumen je nach Papierstärke:

  • einfach: 98,06 EUR
  • schwer: 132,38 EUR
  • extraschwer: 171,61 EUR

Versandkosten kommen noch hinzu.

Da ich schon jetzt 8 Bestellungen habe, gehe ich davon aus, dass das die gültigen Preise sein werden.

Schließlich schlage ich vor, dass meine Arbeit an diesen Stammbäumen durch einen auf extraschwerem Papier ausgedruckten Satz Stammbäume abgegolten wird, den ich dann zu meinen Akten lege. Die Kosten dafür sollen anteilig den anderen bestellten Sätzen hinzuaddiert werden: Je mehr Dreiersätze bestellt werden, desto weniger der Einzelanteil.

Dieser Satz Stammbäume bietet einen guten Überblick über die Geschichte deiner Familie. Damit wird der Verwandtschaftsgrad mit anderen heutigen Wynekens ersichtlich, und du kannst deine Vorfahren durch die Jahrhunderte verfolgen.

Teile mir bis zum 15. Februar bitte per Email verbindlich mit – – wenn du einen Satz Stammbäume bestellen möchtest.

Ich teile dann den endgültigen Preis mit, bevor die Bestellung an den Druckdienst geschickt wird, und gebe bescheid, wie der Betrag überwiesen werden soll.

In 140 Jahren wird der nächste Familienforscher vielleicht beschließen, eine neue Auflage des Stammbaums zu erstellen. Damit die Chancen gut sein werden, dass er oder sie auf die jetzige Version Zugriff bekommt, wäre es mir wichtig, dass diese Stammbäume in der Familie möglichst weit verbreitet unterkommen. Daher meine Bitte, diese Information an möglichst viele aus deiner Familie und Verwandtschaft weiterzuleiten.

Ordering the updated tree and prices

The last complete family tree of the Wyneken family was compiled around 1877 / 1878. Lots has changed since then in the various branches of the family in Germany, the US, Spain, Chile, England and Russia. I have finished the work on an updated version and I already have orders for eight copies. Now I am looking for other family members who are interested in purchasing a copy for themselves.

Because the family and its history has become so large, I have had to split it up into three charts:

  • beginnings and overview – ca. 32” x 12”
  • Bederkesa branch (Germany, Russia, US) – ca. 32” x 240”
  • Rüstje branch (US, England, Germany, Spain, Chile) – ca. 40” x 110”

Previews are available in a previous post in this blog.

!!! But please check this warning in my blog about not being able to include all descendants.

The trees can be ordered in three grades of coated paper:

  • value (equivalent to good quality copier paper)
  • standard heavyweight (recommended as default)
  • super heavyweight (approaches the feel of card stock)

The quality of paper and ink means that they should remain good for many years and decades.

The following prices hold if ten or more people order a set, and with eight orders already I’m thinking this will be what we’re looking at:

  • value quality paper: $111.75
  • standard heavyweight paper: $150.86
  • super heavyweight paper: $195.56

The cost of postage and handling will also need to be added.

I propose that I add a set of trees in super heavyweight quality to the total order I send to the printer. This set would be sent to myself as payment for the time and work necessary to design the charts and have them printed. The cost would be distributed evenly among all the other orders. That means the more people that order a set, the less each person pays for my payment set.

This set of trees reflects your family history and shows how you fit in, both with other Wynekens alive right now as well as throughout the centuries. On request I would be willing to create a small chart for anyone who needs to know how he or she fits in to the overall picture.

Please let me know by e-mail – – by February 15 if you would like to order a set of these trees.

Before I send the order to the printer I will send you the final price and let you know how to transfer the money to me.

Also please pass on this information to as many Wyneken relatives of yours that you can think of. I would like these trees to be distributed as far as possible throughout the family so that if and when somebody decides to make the next updated version of the tree in 140 years or so he or she can easily find a copy of what I am producing now.

Please be aware of this important information!

It is important to note that not all Wyneken descendants appear in the upcoming comprehensive tree. Because the trees turned out so large I had to make a cut-off point:

  • Everybody whose last name is Wyneken is in the tree.
  • Everyone whose mother’s maiden name is Wyneken appears in the tree.
  • If your grandmother’s maiden name was Wyneken but her children were not named Wyneken, then unfortunately you’re not in the tree.
  • If none of your grandparents bore the name “Wyneken”, then you’re not in the tree.

Since it is common in many cultures for women to change their last name when they marry, this means that effectively I have had to cut out descendants of female Wynekens.

If anybody has any questions about this, please get in touch with me!

Last tree complete

I have completed the third and final tree of the new set of trees that show all the Wynekens that have ever existed, at least as far as I’m aware of. A full-sized version of the above tree is available here.

As I’ve mentioned before, the idea is to provide a complete update to the Wyneken family tree published and distributed in about 1877. The tree I’ve just finished shows how everything started by listing the earliest known Wynekens as well as the families of the wives of two of them. The time frame for the earliest generations and their wives’ families is about 200 years, ranging from the early 1500’s through the end of the 1600’s / very beginning of the 1700’s.

I have also included in this chart an overview of how the family developed further by sketching in the two major branches of the Wyneken family, the Bederkesa branch and the Rüstje branch, in two different colors. These are the two branches covered in detail in the other two trees.

At the bottom of this final chart you find the founding fathers of all the branches of the Wyneken family that are in existence today. This chart only shows the direct lines from the beginnings to the founders; complete listings can be found in the other two trees. You can see miniature versions of the other two trees at the bottom of this page.

I believe I’m very close to completing this whole project, but I can imagine it will still be a few months before the printed trees have reached their final owners. Up to now progress in this project has depended solely on myself and on how I can schedule my time. The next steps depend also on other people:

  • Find alternative possibilities for printing the trees.
  • Negotiate special rates with the printer because of the size of the final products and, hopefully, because there will be a large number of orders.
  • Reach as many Wyneken relatives as possible who might be interested in obtaining copies of the trees.
  • Gather the orders and collect the payments.
  • Place the print order.
  • Organize distribution to various people and presumably to different countries.

I’d be pleased to hear from anyone who thinks they can help in any way with any of these steps.

The big trees – Rüstje branch on the left, Bederkesa Branch on the right:

Rüstje Bederkesa

Tree project: Progress report

I finished the second tree! I’ve added pictures and explanatory text to the chart depicting Rüstjethe Rüstje branch of the family.

I’m planning on creating one more tree, the smallest of them all. It will show the beginnings of the family in the 1500’s and provide an overview of how the other two trees fit into the overall picture.

First tree is done

Tree sampleThis past week I put the final touches on the first tree. I mentioned it in my last blog post here. It covers the so-called Bederkesa branch of the family, which includes the two American branches, the Russian branch, and three branches of the family in Germany.

The picture at the left gives an impression of what it looks like. The final product will be about six yards/meters long, however.

I will try to complete the other two charts I have planned during the next months.


Progress report on the new tree project

I would like to announce that I have made some progress in creating a new comprehensive family tree. As I warned back in January, this is not going to be a quick project.

My initial tries showed me that I would not be able to fit a whole tree in a single chart so I decided to make three charts: one covering the earliest generations, one covering the Bederkesa branch (primarily Germany, USA, and Russia) and another covering the Rüstje branch (primarily Germany, Chile, England, Spain).

This week I have made use of vacation time to prepare the first tree. I decided to start with the Bederkesa branch because it is the largest of the three. Instead of making it a top-down horizontal tree like the previous Wyneken tree from the late 1800’s, the new tree is vertical, starting with Peter Christoph Wyneken (1644-1683/1684) on the far left and proceeding to the youngest members of the family on the right side of the chart.

Bederkesa treeThe chart when printed will be about 80 cm by 580 cm, roughly 32 inches by 229 inches. That’s a large piece of paper! There’s a miniature version of the chart on the right side of this page. In real life the chart is four letter size pages wide and 22 of that size long.

To print the charts I’m currently planning on using the services of Heartland Family Graphics (, the print shop endorsed by the Reunion genealogy software I use. I’m not restricted to using them but right now I see no reason to look elsewhere. The price of the charts will depend on the weight of the paper used. The company is sending me samples to aid me in making a decision.

It looks like this first chart would cost around $130, or $160 for heavier paper. There will also be additional costs for shipping and handling. I’m hoping to be able to get some kind of volume rebate if I can tell the print shop that I will be ordering copies for several parties. I’m thinking that the price ought to go down if there are lots of people who want copies. I’m hoping to be able to interest numerous people in obtaining their own copies, not only in the US but also in Germany, Chile and Spain.

Of course, it would make most sense if people order copies of all three trees so they have the information about the whole family. My rough estimate is that the tree for the Rüstje branch should be only about half the size, and thus cost, of this first tree. The third tree showing the earliest generations should only be about maybe $10.

The top of this blog page shows an excerpt from the tree. At the very bottom of the page is another excerpt from the tree.

Please note that I will never post online any information about living persons in a format that can be read or that is in text form. The tree on the right, for example, potentially contains all the names in the tree but it’s neither in text form nor in a legible size.

Excerpt with pictures

Royal seal of Queen Christina of Sweden

A number of months ago Wyneken descendant Ben Phelps shared with me several scanned documents pertaining to the Wyneken family that he had acquired from various sources in the course of his research. Among them were such things as death records and last wills.

One of these documents I find especially post-worthy for two reasons. First, it documents the appointment of Christoph Wyneken, one of the oldest know Wyneken forebears, to the office of “Rentmeister”, translatable as “government treasurer”, in the Duchy of Bremen and Verden. Second, the appointment is signed and sealed by Queen Christina of Sweden. (At the end of the 30 Years War, that northern part of Germany was under Swedish rule.)

The picture at the top of this page shows part of the title page of the document, and the picture at the bottom includes the date — 6th of February, 1649, Christina’s signature, and her seal, covered presumably for protection.

This document is located in the Stade archives: “Acta betreffend Bestallung des Landrentmeisters Christoph Wieneken für die Herzogthümer Bremen und Verden,” Niedersächsisches Landesarchiv Stade, Rep. 5a Nr. 1931, 1649 and 1651.

Queen Christina: signature and seal

Birth record for FCD Wyneken’s mother

Continuing my processing of the material I recently received from Benjamin Phelps, today I worked on the birth and baptism record for Anna Catharina Louise Meyer, who was later to become the mother of Carl, Gustav and FCD Wyneken. The entry reads:

des H Cornetts Hinrich Christian Meyer und seiner Ehefrau Maria Elisabeth geb. Sa[xxx]ow Töchterl:
Anna Catharina Louise
Anna Catharine Meyern zu Barnstorff,
Frau Pastorin Anna Catharina Schwarze zu Verden

This translates as:

Daughter of Herr Kornett Heinrich Christian Meyer and his wife Maria Elisabeth nee Sa[xxx]ow:
Anna Catharina Louise
Anna Catharine Meyer from Barnstorf
Mrs. Pastor Anna Catharina Schwarze from Verden

Heinrich Christian served in the cavalry and this seems to be early on in his military career because “Kornett” is the lowest ranking officer in the cavalry.

This entry is highly interesting to me for two reasons.

First, the year given is definitely 1772. My previous information was that she was born in 1773. It seems that the complete tree from the end of the 19th century listed 1772 and others just copied from that. Maybe it was just a reading erro? I’ve corrected that in my database.

Unfortunately the numbers in the dates are smudged a bit so it’s hard to say exactly which date in December she was born and baptised.

Second, the mother’s maiden name is given! The horrible news is that there’s a smudge in the middle of the name so I can’t figure out exactly what it was. AAAAAARGH!!!